Jim Smart
August 1, 2001

Step By Step

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It's been a long time since 1971. In January of that year, Dan Ingearetson picked up this Grabber Yellow '71 Boss 351 SportsRoof from Sierra Motors in Bishop, California. You can imagine the fuss around Bishop, which is quite isolated on the California desert, since this Boss 351 was likely the first one to ever grace this rural town. It was a red-letter day for Dan. He grabbed the Hurst shifter and throttled the solid lifter 351C. It was an experience he has never forgotten.

That unforgettable experience, along with the thrill of hearing the Cleveland engine's throaty heads, the clatter of solid tappets, and the roar of four Venturis at full bore through a ram-induction air cleaner is why this Boss 351 has never left Dan's side in almost 30 years; it was an ego-feeder, indeed. If you check out the odometer, it shows 115,000 original miles. Those numbers have recorded memories of Dan's life and profession as a soil engineer, which has taken him all over the nation. Dan and his Boss made trips back and forth between Los Angeles and Tucson, Arizona, while he was living in Tucson during the early '70s. And if you've ever driven from Tucson to LA, you know it's a 400-plus-mile journey across vast stretches of desert firmament. Dan and his Boss also experienced the extreme cold of North Dakota, where his family is from. Bountiful memories all across the land throughout three decades; that can't be beaten.

Bountiful memories that include his wife, Dawn, and son, John, whose support made this glistening restoration possible. Dawn became a "Mustang widow" during the full-scale restoration that kept Dan and John occupied in the garage for what seemed like ages. Behold the result of their perseverance and her undying patience. Mr. D's Body Shop in Brea, California, applied the single-stage urethane Grabber Yellow. Dan rebuilt the Boss 351 engine with the help of Paul Phaff of Enterprise Machine in Huntington Beach, California. Between the engine and the 3.91:1 gear ratio 9-inch Traction-Lok is a Top Loader four-speed, the only transmission available in the Boss 351.

On the ground are Magnum 500s wrapped in BFGoodrich Radial T/As, which surely beat the heck out of the original Firestone Wide Oval pizza cutters. Inside is full instrumentation amidst rich original factory Ginger vinyl. Grab the Hurst shifter, stab the gas, and hang on because the 351C 4V Boss commands your respect. We're talking 0-60 in about 6-7 seconds with 3.91:1 gears. Bark a mean Second and listen to this engine roar. Equate it to a candle burning brightly before it burns completely out because 1971 would be the last year for a brute performance Mustang at Ford in a model year when management pulled the plug on racing and performance.

Dan never had to pull the plug on his own performance program because he never considered selling and opting for something more conservative when fuel prices went up. He stayed with the tried and proven, waiting out OPEC's fickle ways, looking to a better day when the dust would settle and economics would catch up with the cost of petrol. As you can see, Dan has no regrets.